CFIA Tests for Propylene Oxide Contaminants

More than 1,000 food products tested contained no propylene oxide

December 6, 2012, Ottawa: As part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) routine testing of various food products, a targeted survey report released today found that all of the more than 1,000 food samples tested contained no propylene oxide (PPO) and were safe for human consumption.

Propylene oxide is a manufactured chemical used as a fumigant for food and for industrial applications. Although PPO is not registered for use as a fumigant/insecticide in Canada, it has been used on dried fruits, nuts and spices in the United States for over 50 years. Health Canada has conducted a risk assessment of the chemical and determined that the consumption of PPO-treated food, such as dried fruits, nuts and spices, will not pose a health concern to consumers, including infants, children and seniors. In 2009, Health Canada established a maximum residue limit (MRL) of 300 ppmfor PPO in almonds and is currently in the process of establishing new MRLs for the entire tree nut crop group.

The CFIA tested 100 samples for PPO in dried spices and herbs, dried fruit products, cocoa powder and nuts in 2009-2010. In 2010-2011, 964 samples of dried spices and herbs, dried fruit products, cocoa and chocolate products/powders and nut products (including almonds) were also tested for PPO. Propylene oxide was not detected in any of the samples analyzed, all met the applicable compliance requirement, and no recalls were required.

Further information on this study is available on the CFIA website.

 

 

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